Sunday, July 23, 2017

Hello from London! @LeoRosanna

As this blog is posted, I'll be on my way home from a family trip to London and Edinburgh. I'm preparing it in advance, eagerly anticipating that trip for many reason. Number one, we love visiting the UK and never grow bored of the history and culture. Our sons have grown to love it as well, but mostly for the shopping. They're teens - cool clothes mean a lot, after all.

However, I'm anticipating it as a writer as well because almost every one of my trips has provided me with inspiration for characters and settings and plots. It's always nice to write about your home, and I certainly write a lot about Canada, but a new setting can inject energy into your work.

For instance, I wrote Sweet Hell while lounging on deck chairs in the Mayan Riviera several years ago. Sunburn was inspired by that location and features a Mexican resort. Night Lover is set at an English manor house, one that is similar to others I've seen in the London area. And Vice was written after I visited Las Vegas. Trips can provide writers with a wealth of information and I urge my fellow writers to jot down any interesting events and sights that can be used afterward.


What will be my aim this time? Well, we've done all the big tourist attractions in London already and don't feel a need to do them again. This time, we really want to explore neighbourhoods, to get familiar with all sorts of nooks and crannies. I want to mine the sort of detail that will allow a reader to become completely swept up in a setting.

Will I get another book out of this trip? That is the hope. Edinburgh will be a new experience for us and I'm sure I'll find all sorts of inspiration there.

Has a travel destination ever inspired you to put pen to paper?


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Weaponized Zukes in Canada by @elle_rush

*WARNING * CRITICAL MASS ACHIEVED * WARNING *

If you follow me at all on social media (hint, hint, see below), you'll know I'm into gardening. I thought it would be fun. This is my second year with a large vegetable garden. I thought I learned my lesson last year. Apparently not.

Approximately ten days ago, my zucchini plants hit critical mass. Since then, they have doubled in size every two days. Fortunately they are still confined to one section of my box garden, but I don't know if that will hold them for long. I estimate one more week before I lose all control.

June 13th

July 17th

Yes, I have weaponized zukes.

I do my best to ensure my zukes don't threaten my neighbours (there are only so many you can "generously give away"), and that they don't go to waste (did you know you can shred them and freeze them for future baking?), but some days it feels like I'm losing the battle.

I made a ton of pineapple zucchini bread over the winter. (It's an excellent recipe BTW, and freezes wonderfully.) And we learned that small zucchinis bulk up barbecue veggie baskets very well. Sadly we learned this late in the year - this summer we will grab those little zukes before they get as big as my forearm.

Things went nuclear quickly this year. We followed directions on the seed package and only planted 4 sets of seeds. They say 4 seeds per hole, so that's what they did. Then we had to split them into 8. Then two more popped up, so we have 10 active plants. We know from last year that not all of them will flower, but still. Do you know how much fibre that is going to be? Do you!?!?

Let this be a warning to future zuke manufacturers and distributors. You do not have control of this weapon of gastronomical destruction. Control is an illusion. These things must be fiercely regulated and only allowed to proliferate once per neighbourhood. Canadian summers are the best for producing zukes, and we could easily rule globally, but do we really want to do that to the planet? Because that is a lot of tasteless cucumber.

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Follow Elle on Facebook, Twitter, or with her newsletter.

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Android users!  Elle's books are now available on Google Play. Her River City Heroes books will be available later this week.

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Great Deal! Elle now has a Hollywood to Olympus Bundle - get the first 3 books for only $4.99!


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Keeping Up With Kacey (@KaceyHammell) #Writing #Life #Summertime



Good morning everyone! And Happy Sunday. Mid July and this year's summer in Ontario, Canada has had it's ups and downs. With more rain than we've had in years, beach days for many have been few and far between. While my hay fields are loving the long drinks of water they're getting, I'm not as enthusiastic about it. It has to be dry longer than a day or two in order to get the fields cut and baled. Basically it's a cut one day, let it lie for a full day to fully dry out and then bale it. But with sporadic days of sun then rain, it's been a struggle. Plus the time frame of hubby's work schedule and mine are also interfering.

Speaking of which, I started a full time job outside the house recently and it's cutting into my writing. I'm doing my best but it's difficult to have the energy after a long, fast paced day and a quite physical job. I've resigned myself to weekend writing. But things are progressing well and I am somewhat managing. My online presence is dismal, but it's unavoidable these days. I've never been so grateful to sleep at the end of a day. Being a stay-at-home mom for fifteen years, I was busy and my days were always full, but I appreciate the writing time a lot more now, as well as my sleep. I could stay up until two in the morning and be up at 5:30 and go all day without needing a nap. Now, I'm in bed by nine p.m. and getting up at five a.m. is hard as hell. But we all do what we must. Adjust and adapt has always been a way of life for me. 

But I have bought myself a new car. Being on the road more now for the job and needing something a lot newer for five days a week, I splurged a bit and have a shiny new toy. I love it. So, SO comfortable! I haven't decided yet, but I may be driving it to a book signing in Kalamazoo, Michigan in October. I haven't looked at all my travel options as yet (and it's like a ten hour drive), but I know I'll have something more comfortable than my previous car, and more reliable, should I decide to drive all that way. 



And in writing news, I signed a contract about a week ago. Another story coming out in the fall with Evernight Publishing. It is the sequel to Stirring Up Dirty, and the 2nd in the Stirred by Love series, called, Stirring Up Glory. I loved writing this story a lot. Drew and Glory, whom everyone met in book one finally come to a head with their past and their ire toward one another. It's pretty intense, but oh, so yummy, too. *g*  I'm steadily working on two WIPs currently. One is a wolf shifter, the other is a suspense. I'm having fun with all the characters. It's a new thing for me, working on 2 stories at once, but I'm managing. The suspense has a firm deadline that must be met, but the wolves are demanding a lot of attention to. And a writer should never ignore the voices in their head. *g*

I also have a new member of the family. Meet, Toby, my "grandson", who belongs to my oldest son and his girlfriend. They are both on their way to college/university in Sept, and have added a bundle of joy -- of the four-legged kind thankfully -- to their lives. Toby is a handful, so very energetic that his "Grandma" can't keep up, but a lot of joy too. Peaches (my cockapoo) has warmed up to him some, but she misses her peace and quiet days. LOL





Until next month, hope you're reading some great stories and enjoying the long summer days. 


   


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Celebrating six years published with a #giveaway and #sale! @jsubject #romance #scifirom


Hello my dear readers! I’m excited to say that as of the beginning of this month I’ve officially been published for SIX years. On July 1, 2011, my first story, CELESTIAL SEDUCTION, was published by Decadent Publishing as part of their 1Night Stand series.

In the last six years, I’ve had twenty-nine stories published, including twelve self-published first titles (two as Paisley Brown), and six re-releases. It’s been an exciting ride where I’ve met so many wonderful people, both online and in person. I look forward to what the future holds in store for my writing career.

To celebrate six years published, I’m hosting a contest, and have TWO BOX SETS ON SALE. Between July 1 to 31, you can enter to WIN one of three signed paperbacks. Must be 18 or older to enter. Contest is international, except where prohibited by law. Please note, THERE WILL BE NO SUBSTITUTION OF PRIZES. Good luck!

Here are the paperbacks in the contest:

    


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Here are the BOX SETS ON SALE:

Get these sets for 99¢ USD each!

Sale ends July 15, 2017


Amazon US | UK | Canada | Germany | Australia




Amazon US | UK | Canada | Germany | Australia


HAPPY SUMMER READING!


Jessica E. Subject is the author of science fiction romance, mostly alien romances, ranging from sweet to super hot. Sometimes she dabbles in paranormal and contemporary as well, bringing to life a wide variety of characters. In her stories, you can not only meet a sexy alien or two, but also clones and androids. You may be transported to a dystopian world where rebels are fighting to live and love, or to another planet for a romantic rendezvous.

When Jessica is not reading, writing, or doing dreaded housework, she likes to go to fitness class and walk her Great Pyrenees/Retriever her family adopted from the local animal shelter.

Jessica lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and two energetic children. And she loves to hear from her readers. You can find her at jessicasubject.com.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Musings on a Milestone - My publishing Anniversary @SusanHayes

 



Tomorrow will mark my fifth anniversary as a published romance novelist. Pardon me while I stare at that last sentence for a moment and let it sink in. Five years? Already? Can’t be. That would mean I’m forty-…yeah, never mind.  Apparently, it’s been five years. *hides birth certificate and goes back to pretending I’m thirty-nine, again.*

I wrote my first romance novel with stars in my eyes and only the vaguest of notions about the existence of such minor issues as tense, point of view, and where to put the commas. (side note, commas and I are still a work in progress.)  It was initially titled Alistair’s Bed, and when I’d polished it as much as I could, I sent it to a publisher. They declined, but with encouragement to try again. By the time they said no the first book, I’d finished the book the second already. With two books written and no publisher, I did what many did back in 2012. I self-published. That was the day I stepped into a whole new world, and a new career.

Five years and thirty-two books later, there are still days I feel like I’m a wet-behind-the-ears newbie. The markets have changed since I started out. The rules for publishing are more like guidelines these days, and marketing plans contain so much wizardry and hocus-pocus they could be a course taught at Hogwarts. I’ve had books that flopped, and others that soared. Through it all, I’ve been given the awesome opportunity to connect with readers, and even meet some of them face to face.

When I started out, I would never have imagined a day would come when my stories would be read around the world and be popular enough to be translated into French or turned into audiobooks. Incredibly, those things are happening right now, and by the end of this year, I hope to reach new audiences and connect with new readers.  I’m blessed to be able to do what I love. To tell the stories that I want to. To touch the lives of so many who honour me by spending time immersed in the worlds I’ve created.


I’ll likely be too busy to do more than toast myself with an iced coffee tomorrow when my official anniversary hits. I’ve got Happily Ever Afters to write, deadlines to make, and a trilogy of intergalactic mail order bride novellas to finish.  Five years ago, I couldn’t begin to imagine the journey I was starting. I only hope that the next five years are full just as many of fond memories, new friendships, and stories.  

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Just Another Day @MichelleGAuthor #4thofJuly


I knew I should have scheduled this post weeks ago, but my bad habit of procrastinating got me again, only this time it's complicated by being on vacation.



So as I sat down to compose this post I realized that I had missed my posting day and the 4th of July was already over. *facepalm*


Please tell me I'm not the only one who goes through this! When I'm working, I can tell you the date, and often the time within 5 minutes because everything is highly scheduled. But on vacation?

No frigging clue.

Realizing that it is on vacation, my brain has shut down all but the most basic of functions. I have reading to do. And writing! And editing. Instead, I can't concentrate on anything for more than a

Squirrel!

And my parents are moving out of their house so we've been helping them pack. It seems like every day there's more crap to be gone through. I have surgery coming up this week (nothing major - no worries) which is also going to knock me out of commission for a few days. Hubby's on afternoons which messes up my schedule because he likes it when I'm awake when he gets home (at midnight), but I have to actually do things during the day and can't sleep until noon so I'm running on very little sleep.

Shit, this post just turned really whiny. I'll stop now.


Next month, I'll be coming at you from Romancing the Capital in Ottawa. I'm attending as a reader which is lots of fun because I can fan girl on some of my favourite authors, and get ideas for someday when I can do cons like that, too. I'll be sharing tons of photos on my Instagram account, so feel free to follow me there.




On that note, I'm out of here! Thanks for listening!



Monday, July 3, 2017

Rainy Days and Mondays with @NathanBurgoine

It's been raining for days. In fact, much of Canada Day was rained out in our neighbourhood (and our Nation's Capital, where we had the most rain since 1959's Canada Day, apparently), but here's the thing: I love the rain.

Now, some of that comes from my youth. See, mumble-mumble years ago, I was a fifteen year old boy who was terrified. I'd moved from Ontario to British Columbia, and I was completely alone (again, that happened every time I moved). I was making nerdy friends (my usual move), and then something happened that put me in direct contact with a freaking viking hunk.

When I got to my official French class it was clear pretty early on that I was way ahead of what they were teaching at my grade level, since I'd come from somewhere where the French got a bit more attention. I wasn't feeling remotely challenged in the class, so the teacher suggested I peer tutor a student who'd struggled in his attempt to earn his language credits.

He was two years older than me. He looked like a viking. He played sports. He was popular. We were so incredibly unalike that I was sure at any moment he'd realize, and I'd be face-down in the bathroom getting a swirlie, or shoved into a locker, or sprayed from head-to-toe with pop, or...

Well. Grade nine had a whole list of stuff I'd hoped to never repeat. This new school was one where I hoped that could happen, and as it turned out, that was the case. In part, I think, because of the viking.

Two things happened on a particular day in British Columbia. The first thing was I was walking home with the viking (my house wasn't an extremely far walk from the school, and the viking liked to walk everywhere) where we were going to work on intransitive verbs. I had my mnemonic acronyms ready, as well as a tenuous explanation or two up my sleeve for what an intransitive verb was. The second thing was a downpour, just as we were pretty much half-way. Going back or going ahead would see us both drenched.

Instead? We crossed a rope-bridge onto a small artist's island, and took refuge in a tiny cabin that still stood there from history. It was the cabin the artist had lived in with his wife while building the larger house they'd moved into come the spring, and while their home had been turned into a visitor centre for information on the artist, the little cabin was just sort of tucked aside.

But it was dry.

And it was where I kissed my first guy. The viking. Because while it turned out I was asked to teach him some French, he taught me some French, too, as it were.

The backdrop to the kissing (and more)? Rain. Throughout the whole time we snogged, the sound of rain was the soundtrack. When the rain finally stopped, we got to my house, and despite the drumbeat of terror in my head: I kissed him, he kissed me, oh my God, what do I do? that night, as I fell asleep, the rain returned, and this wave of calm passed over me. I smiled. I remembered.

To this day? The sound of rain is my favourite sound. I sleep better to rain. I am so relaxed and calm when it's raining. And as much as I love a walkabout, there's just something about sitting and listening to the rain, a cup of tea in one hand, and a book in the other.

So, even though we're on day eighteen of eighteen days with rainfall here in Ottawa (if it rains today, it'll actually be a new record), I don't mind. There isn't active flooding, people aren't being hurt, and—okay—the fireworks were delayed, but they were apparently spectacular when they finally happened.

I know a lot of people find the rain gets them down. Thanks to a kiss, I don't think that'll ever be me. Rain makes me smile, makes me boil the tea-kettle, makes me run outside in downpours and spin like a fool, and makes me break out the board games once I dry off.

How about you? What are your memories of the rain? What are your favourite rainy-day activities?


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Now, if you're not a rain person, can I interest you in some snow? My latest novel, Triad Soul, just released, and given that it's set in February in Ottawa, there's zero chance of any kind of rain. Well, maybe ice rain. But not in this particular book...



The law of three is everything: three vampires for a coterie, three demons for a pack, and three wizards for a coven. Those alone or in pairs are vulnerable to the rest. Luc, Anders, and Curtis—vampire, demon, and wizard—sidestepped tradition by binding themselves together. 


When something starts brutally killing demons in Ottawa, the three find themselves once again moving among the powers who rule the city from the shadows—this time working with them to try to stop the killings before chaos and blood rule the streets.

Hunting a killer who seems to leave no trace behind, the triad are forced to work with allies they don’t dare trust, powers they barely understand, and for the good of those they already know to be corrupt.

They have the power of blood, soul, and magic. But they have to survive to keep it.



Saturday, July 1, 2017

HAPPY CANADA DAY! #CoolCanuckStuff #Canada150 #CanadaRocks @LDBlakeley

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

How are you celebrating? I have family and food on deck at my house and am keeping my fingers crossed the weather forecast is wrong for this afternoon (sunshine, please!) Who am I kidding? We’re Canadian. We BBQ in the snow. A bit of rain isn’t going to stop us when there’s celebrating and good eats to be had.

As an aside: did you know Butter Tarts aren’t a thing outside of Canada? I know. How tragic!

Since we’re celebrating 150 years since Confederation, it seems like the perfect time for a bit of Canadian horn blowing (and yes, as a romance writer, I’m aware how filthy that sounds, but get your mind out of the gutter for a moment and let me regale you with some awesome things you probably didn’t know were Canadian.)
No brunch is complete without this unholy marriage of vodka, Clamato juice (just... trust me), Worcestershire, tabasco, and celery salt.
Hail, Caesar(s)!

Everyone knows about basketball (invented by a Canadian PE teacher), the Canadarm, and the drink that eats like a meal, the Caesar (also not a thing outside of Canada, for shame!

But did you know about these:

THE EGG CARTON 
Invented in 1911 by newspaper editor Joseph Coyle of Smithers, B.C.

THE ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR
In 1952, engineer George Klein made the world more accessible with a motorized wheelchair.

THE FOGHORN
Robert Foulis invented a steam-powered foghorn in 1854, but died penniless because he didn't patent it. Boo.

Green Currency Ink - invented in 1862 by a CANADIAN!
GREEN CURRENCY INK
In 1862, Thomas Sterry Hunt invented the ink that makes U.S. bills green.

IMAX
Filmmakers Graeme Ferguson, Roman Kroiter, and Robert Kerr along with engineer Robert C. Shaw founded IMAX in 1967. (This one holds a spot in my heart since one of my besties works in their sound department.)

INSTANT REPLAY
CBC TV producer George Retzlaff used a kinescope when he created the first-ever Instant Replay in 1955. Not surprisingly, it was during a broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada.

INSULIN
Toronto scientists Frederick Banting, Charles Best, and James Collip discovered insulin (obviously they didn’t invent something that's naturally occurring) and learned how it could treat diabetes.

MCINTOSH APPLES
In 1811, farmer John McIntosh began grafting a wild apple tree at his South Dundas farm; by 1835 he had a marketable product.

THE ODOMETER
In 1854, Nova Scotia inventor Samuel McKeen created a device to measured distance with every revolution of a carriage wheel.

Peanut Butter: the world's most perfect food - patented in 1884 by a CANADIAN!
PEANUT BUTTER
Montreal pharmacist Marcellus Gilmore Edson patented the most gloriously perfect foodstuff EVER in 1884, as a food option for people who couldn't chew.

THE ROTARY SNOWPLOW
Toronto dentist, Dr. J.W. Elliot, first conceived the idea to clean up train tracks. 

STANDARD TIME
Engineer Sandford Fleming brought standard time to U.S. and Canadian railways in 1883. Time zones became U.S. law in 1918 and were accepted worldwide by 1929.

TRIVIAL PURSUIT
Invented in 1979 by Montreal sports editor, Scott Abbott, and photo editor, Chris Haney.

THE WALKIE TALKIE
Don Hings invented what he called the "packset" in 1937. When Canada declared war on Germany two years later, he went to Ottawa to redevelop it for military use.

THE WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE BUS
Walter Harris Callow, a blind, quadriplegic veteran, invented the first wheelchair-accessible bus in 1947.
Yay, Canada!

And with that, I leave you with perhaps the most Canadian news story since the Maple Syrup Heist of 2012 (no, I’m not making that up):

Police remove 'angry' beaver that stopped traffic in Barrie, Ont.

'Angry' Beaver: The Canadian Press | Published Tuesday, May 9, 2017 10:32AM EDT

Read the story for yourself. And enjoy your long weekend!


Oh yeah – we’re sorry about Justin Bieber, eh?

Until next time,

www.ldblakeley.com